Saturday, February 7, 2015
APEC strengthens collaboration in addressing natural disasters
CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City-With the Asia and the Pacific region having the highest number of natural disasters, the Philippines and the other 20 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum are intensifying collaboration to be better prepared to deal with them.
Dr. Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, estimated that APEC member-economies alone suffered around $ 70 billion in costs related to natural disasters annually over the last decade.
Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo cited new and escalating challenges posed by climate change to Asia-Pacific economies and the region’s three billion people.
“Rising sea levels and the increasing ferocity of typhoons tearing through the region are the compelling and urgent reasons for game-changing solutions,” he said.
The APEC countries are working closely to address the possible effects of natural disasters on their economies.
“Climate change is at the top of the Asia-Pacific agenda and prompting a new era of cooperation to combat this rapidly unfolding threat to humanity,” said Chen Linhao, chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Linhao said cross-border research has the power to inform how economies can adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change and “must be fully tapped.”
The APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation is administering the annual APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) Prize.
Nominations are now open for 2015 ASPIRE, whose theme “Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability” spotlights the cross-border development of next generation technologies vital to helping economies adapt to changing natural conditions, strengthening environmental protection and building more resilient, sustainable communities.
The theme of this year’s award, known as the ASPIRE Prize, was selected by the Philippines, APEC Chair for 2015.
It is an extension of deepening partnership between the 21 APEC member economies to tackle climate change and related challenges, which are among the policy priorities being taken forward by Senior Officials and technical experts meeting through this week in Clark and Subic. (PNA)
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